Alcoa reported strong profits for the first quarter and is bullish about the opportunities for lightweight materials in the commercial vehicle market.

The lightweight metal manufacturer, best known to HDT readers for its truck wheels, reported net income of $195 million, or 14 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $178 million, or 16 cents per share per share in the first quarter of 2014.

First quarter 2015 revenues rose 7% to $5.8 billion, from $5.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

“First quarter results show our transformation is moving at ongoing high speed and is fully on course,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa chairman and CEO.

Alcoa also issued projections in which it is bullish about the near-term and longer-term future of the commercial vehicle market. It expects the total global aluminum commercial vehicle wheel market will increase from 30% of the total commercial vehicle wheel market in 2010 to 50% in 2018.

Alcoa is forecasting increasing orders in the North American heavy-duty truck and trailer market, and projects 6% to 8% growth for 2015, up from 3% to 7% percent in the previous forecast. However, with weakness in China, Europe and Brazil, the global heavy-duty truck and trailer market is projected to decline 2% to 4% percent for the year, according to the company.

Alcoa’s profit generally beat many analysts' expectations, but revenue didn’t, leading soe to speculate the first quarter earnings season may be full of surprises and some disappointments.

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